13 Reasons to Plan a Foam-Free Enclosure

Spray foam has been the subject of much discussion in green building circles.  Whether the concern is installation safety or global warming potential or better energy performance, it seems there’s no shortage of debate.  Along these lines, the guys at 475 High Performance Building Supply, a Brooklyn-based provider of products for high-performance projects, have a list describing 13 ways foam fails, starting with the “dangerous toxic ingredients.

(more…)

By |December 18th, 2012|IAQ, Materials|14 Comments

Wood Fiber Insulation Arrives in the USA

Looks like wood-fiber insulation board is coming to the USA, according to a Greenbuild update on Green Building Advisor.  Agepan THD is the name of the product and it’s used as exterior sheathing for walls and roofs.  Agepan boards connect in tongue and groove fashion and insulate to R-5.74 per panel (2″ x 74.5″ x 23-5/8″).  The material has a high permeability (18 U.S. perms) and can be used in a wall assembly to dry to the exterior.  It’s offered through Washington-based The Small Planet Workshop Store.

(more…)

By |December 3rd, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Materials|0 Comments

Omni Block is an Insulated Concrete Block

I noticed in Dwell‘s Prefab edition that one prefab was partially built with an innovative concrete masonry unit (CMU) by Nevada-based Omni Block.  Omni Block is a structural CMU filled with Expanded Polystyrene inserts.  Walls with Omni Block can be finished or, in the case of the Simpatico project (see below), left exposed for a modern interior or exterior.  The manufacturer says the material is fire resistant, durable, and thermally efficient, and the blocks come in colors or with special aggregates.

(more…)

By |November 29th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Materials|5 Comments

Terralite is a Light New Insulative Cement

Portland-based Terra Bona Materials launched Terralite Cement at Greenbuild this year hoping to deliver a product that meets the energy-efficiency demands of the greater building science community.  Terralite is a “lightweight” product made with cement and an aggregate that includes expanded polystyrene.  Marketing materials claim the product is 20% of the weight of traditional concrete and, according to company president Terry Cotton, insulative with an R-value of 1.8 per inch.

(more…)

By |November 27th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Materials|0 Comments

Windows with Energy Efficiency in Mind

This is another installment in our series called Energy-Efficient Windows 101 made possible by Marvin Windows and Doors. In our first article of the series, I discussed some window basics and how to read a home window label.  Now I want to discuss more product options available for your energy-efficient windows.  When you buy Marvin windows, you’ll have the opportunity to decide how many panes you need and which glazing and gas options can contribute towards your home performance goals and well as maximize your comfort.

(more…)

By |November 26th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Products|5 Comments

CalStar Publishes EPD for Fly Ash Brick

CalStar Products makes brick with a proprietary manufacturing process and a binder of fly ash.  By using fly ash, the company diverts waste from the landfill (37% recycled content) and eliminates energy-intensive firing — these bricks are cured overnight at temperatures below 200° F, according to CalStar.  To give the market comfort with their sustainability claims, CalStar obtained a lifecycle analysis (LCA) from Perkins + Will and published the results in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

(more…)

By |November 25th, 2012|Materials, Recycled|4 Comments